Letoya Luckett, Damien Wayans and Lesley-Ann Brandt have been added to VH1′s series Single Ladies. They are set for major recurring/possible regular roles. Luckett will play Felicia Price, the icy and aloof founder and Senior Partner of Price Management, one of the most influential music management companies in the world. Wayans will play David Berenger, April’s (Charity Shea) main foil at Price Management — a masterful sycophant, and a slick manager on the Atlanta music scene. Brandt, repped by repped by Innovative and New Wave Entertainment, plays Naomi Cox, a demure, sexy, scheming gold-digger who is a constant thorn in Keisha’s (LisaRaye McCoy) side.
Days Of Our Lives alum Darin Brooks is returning to daytime with a role on CBS’ The Bold & The Beautiful. He will play Wyatt Fuller, a bold, sexy and mysterious young man who unexpectedly finds himself in the midst of the Forresters, Logans and Spencers. Brooks is repped by UTA and KLWGN.
The book retail chain’s shares are up 8.1% in mid-afternoon trading, making it one of the day’s biggest gainers in the media pack. Barron’s appears to be largely responsible for the move after it seized this weekend on reports that Microsoft might be willing to pay $1B for Barnes & Noble’s NOOK tablet and e-reader platform. “It’s possible Microsoft may bid for Nook or the whole company, and there could also be interest from Liberty [Media]” which already owns 17% of Barnes & Noble, Barron’s says. Deals could send shares up as much as 50% the magazine estimates. The Microsoft rumor took off two weeks ago after Techcrunch cited “internal documents” that confirmed an offer. That sent shares to a 52-week high of $23.71. But enthusiasm fizzled last week when web site Insider Monkey reported that a “highly placed source inside Microsoft” said an acquisition “is not happening in the foreseeable future.” That hasn’t put speculation about a big deal to rest. Founder Leonard Riggio has said that he might make an offer for the retail stores, although he hasn’t made it yet. Meanwhile Techcrunch yesterday cited “a source close to the matter” who says that Barnes & Noble is preparing to add a web browser, email, and apps to the Nook Simple Touch e-readers — potentially a big boost in functionality for a $79 device. The company recently added … Read More »
Again via Twitter, this year’s Oscars host has turned down an offer extended by returning producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to take the gig again. Seth MacFarlane had already said immediately after the show in February that he wasn’t up to host the 2014 awards ceremony, but after Zadan and Meron re-upped last month in a surprisingly early decision by the Academy, the duo asked him anyway. MacFarlane had been silent publicly until he tweeted today: “Traumatized critics exhale: I’m unable to do the Oscars again. Tried to make it work schedule-wise, but I need sleep. However, I highly recommend the job, as Zadan and Meron are two of the most talented producers in the business. My suggestion for host is Joaquin Phoenix“. Whether he really wanted the job or not, he is plenty busy making his new cowboy comedy A Million Ways To Die In The West as well as working on a Ted sequel. The only question now is what comes next: MacFarlane’s third “please, stop asking me” tweet or somebody actually taking the job. Stay tuned.
Kate Hudson has been cast as Zach Braff‘s wife in Wish I Was Here, the indie film Braff will direct that landed funding via Kickstarter in a campaign that surpassed its $2M fundraising goal in three days. Braff wrote the script with his brother Adam. It centers on Aidan Bloom (Zach Braff), a struggling actor, father and husband who at 35 is still trying to find his identity and a purpose for his life. He and his wife (Hudson) are barely getting by financially and Aidan passes his time by fantasizing about being the great futuristic Space-Knight he’d always dreamed he’d be as a little kid. Mandy Patinkin and Josh Gad have already joined the cast. Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg are producing the pic through their Double Feature Films. Read More »
As movie sequels dominate the box office with more than 30 slated this year alone, including Iron Man 3, Star Trek 2 and Hangover 3, television too is increasingly relying on expanding TV franchises. In a symbolic move, as the last CSI spinoff, CSI: NY, bowed out this season, a record three new spinoff series are joining the broadcast schedule for next season: The Once Upon A Time spinoff Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, The Vampire Diaries offshoot The Originals on the CW, and Chicago Fire‘s Chicago PD on NBC. They will join returning spinoffs NCIS: LA and Law & Order: SVU. Of the four spinoff projects that were in consideration for next season, only one, CBS’ NCIS: Red, didn’t get a series pickup. “Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t,” CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler said last week about the decision. “Protecting (the NCIS franchise) was really important.” She indicated that the network is open to trying the spinoff again. Indeed, I hear there is talk about revisiting NCIS: Red with a new cast.
Once a staple in comedy with All In The Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Cosby Show, Cheers and Family Guy among the slew of hit series to launch spinoffs, offshoots are primarily limited to drama these days. NBC tried to break the … Read More »
The FCC Commissioner became Acting Chair — and the first women to run the regulatory agency — on Saturday taking the job just vacated by Julius Genachowski until the Senate (presumably) confirms President Obama’s choice to replace him, Tom Wheeler. “I see myself as a member of a relay team, running one of the middle legs,” Clyburn told FCC staffers today. “My job is to build on forward momentum, give the next teammate a running start, an improved position, and no matter what, my goal is not to drop the baton.” It could take months before she can pass that baton to Wheeler. The Senate likely will confirm him in tandem with a Republican to replace former Commissioner Robert McDowell who left the FCC on Friday. Presidents typically appoint someone recommended by the opposition leadership when there’s an FCC opening for the out party. But the Senate GOP has yet to make its pick. Leaders are seriously considering Duke University’s Michelle Connolly — a former FCC chief economist — Politico reports. Others being looked at include former Scripps Networks Chief Legal Officer A.B. Cruz, and Hill staff veterans Ray Baum and Neil Fried. Last week the U.S. Office of Government ethics disclosed that Wheeler — a former lobbyist who’s now an investor with Core Capital partners — said that if confirmed he would divest holdings in 78 companies including AMC Networks, Apple, Cablevision, CBS, Comcast, DirecTV, Dish … Read More »
NBC has acquired 13-episode drama series Siberia, from Sierra/Engine Television and producer Michael Ohoven from Infinity Media. The mystery drama will premiere on July 1 and air in the Monday 10 PM slot. Siberia is set in the remote Siberian territory of Tunguska, location of the largest impact event on Earth, the massive 1908 explosion, believed to have been caused by a meteoroid or comet, which knocked down some 80 million trees over an area of 830 square miles. More than 100 years later, 16 reality-show contestants descend on Tunguska unknowing of the land’s mysterious past. When a contestant is badly injured and no help arrives the contestants realize that the strange occurrences are not part of the show. With their safety threatened, competing contestants must band together in an effort to survive. The series, said to be in the vein of The Blair Witch Project, is wrapping production. It was unveiled at the recent MIPTV by Sierra/Engine, which handles worldwide distribution. Siberia extends Sierra/Engine’s relationship with NBC as the company also distributes the network’s upcoming drama series Crossbones. “The concept of survival, when mysterious elements are at play, makes for a compelling show,” said NBC’s scheduling chief Jeff Bader. This is NBC’s third scripted series slated for summer, joining another acquired drama, Crossing Lines, as well as dramedy Camp. Siberia … Read More »
Jon Vitti, a veteran writer of The Simpsons, King Of The Hill, The Office, and The Larry Sanders Show, will write the screenplay for Angry Birds, the new animated 3D film based on Rovio Entertainment’s game app. Veteran producer Catherine Winder is also joining as a producer alongside John Cohen and executive producer David Maisel. The Sony movie is set for a July 1, 2016 release.
Related: Sony Takes Worldwide Rights To Angry Birds Movie
Vitti won an Emmy as a writer/consulting producer on King Of The Hill. His credits include writing for Saturday Night Live, writer-producer on The Simpsons, writer/co-executive producer on The Larry Sanders Show, and writer/consulting producer on The Office. On the feature film side he shared writing credits on The Simpsons Movie and Alvin And The Chipmunks. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Media has set The Hunger Games‘ Liam Hemsworth to star in Aurora Rising. Scripted by A Man Apart‘s Christian Gudegast, the film is produced by Emjag Productions’ Alexandra Milchan and Film 360’s Scott Lambert and Guymon Casady along with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh. Antonio Moura Santos Jr. will executive produce.
Hemsworth will play a Southern California surfer turned military fighter pilot who, after acing a complicated and messy first combat mission, gets recruited to be part of an elite team to test the next generation of aircraft. This happens just as an international conflict begins to escalate. ROAR, WME and Morris And Yorn rep Hemsworth. Gudegast is repped by WME and 360 Management. This is his second project with Relativity where he will also script and direct the bank heist drama Den Of Thieves. Relativity’s Jason Barhydt will oversee the project for the studio.
On August 16, Relativity releases the corporate espionage thriller Paranoia, the Luc Besson action film Malavita on September 20 with Robert De Niro with EuropaCorp, Scott Cooper’s Out Of The Furnace on October 4, the Joseph Gordon-Levitt-directed Don Jon on October 18, and the Jimmy Hayward-directed Free Birds on November 1. Relativity is in production on the Kevin Costner-starrer Three Days To Kill with Europacorp.
Zachary Levi will star opposite Krysta Rodriguez in First Date, a romantic musical comedy with a book by Gossip Girl’s Austin Winsberg and music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. The Broadway show begins performances July 9 and opens August 8 at the Longacre. Levi plays Aaron, who is set up on a first date with Casey (Rodriguez). As the date unfolds in real time, the couple quickly finds they are not alone on this date as Casey and Aaron’s inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons and the wait staff get into the act. Dinner is served with sides of Google background checks, fake emergency phone calls, supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents, who sing and dance them through ice-breakers, appetizers and potential conversational land mines.
Tony winner Christian Borle, who stars on NBC’s Smash, has been cast in Michael Mann‘s upcoming cyber crime movie that already has Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis and Holt McCallany aboard. Legendary Pictures is producing the pic, the plot of which is being kept quiet. The thriller is expected to begin shooting this month in China. Mann wrote the script with Morgan Davis Foehl. Borle, repped by CAA and Management 360, is a Broadway veteran and won the Tony in 2012 for playing Black Stache in Peter And The Starcatcher.
HOLLYWOOD, CA (May 20, 2013) – Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures jointly announced today that Chinese actress Li Bingbing (“RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION”) has been cast in the eagerly awaited “TRANSFORMERS 4.” The actress joins Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Jack Reynor, Nicola Peltz and Sophia Myles in the fourth installment in the hit series of movies based on the best-selling Hasbro toyline. Paramount Pictures will release the film on June 27th, 2014. “I am excited to have Li Bingbing join our cast and to be shooting portions of the movie in her native China. I have always aspired to work with the best actors and this cast is especially exciting now with the addition of Li,” said Michael Bay.
Related: Paramount To Produce ‘Transformers 4′ In China
EXCLUSIVE: Silver Reel and Lotus Entertainment have partnered with di Bonaventura Pictures and CJ Entertainment for an English-language remake of Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance. The script is written by Broken City scribe Brian Tucker, based on the first film in Park Chan-wook‘s Vengeance Trilogy. The film centers on two men who are bound by their common sense of loss and headed on a collision course of revenge. The other installments in that trilogy are Oldboy and Lady Vengeance. A remake of Oldboy will be released in October by FilmDistrict, directed by Spike Lee and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Brolin and Sharlto Copley.
Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian are producing and Claudia Bluemhuber, Bill Johnson, Jim Seibel, Jacob Pechenik and Gero Bauknecht are executive producers. D.J. Gugenheim is co-producer and will oversee for the financiers while Ed Fee does the same for di Bonaventura Pictures. CJ’s Miky Lee and Joon Choi are executive producing, with Jiwon Park producing and Min Young Hong co-producing. This is the first acquisition in Silver Reel and Lotus’ newly formed partnership, one that is focused on developing and acquiring commercial and high-caliber projects. They are now looking for a director. Repping di Bonaventura, CAA brokered the deal and will represent the film’s domestic distribution rights. WME reps Tucker.
EXCLUSIVE: Wall Street and W scribe Stanley Weiser has optioned the Jamie Mason novel Three Graves Full, and he plans to write the script himself. The book, published by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books, follows a mild-mannered guy who happens to kill somebody he wishes he’d never met, and buries the body in his backyard. Just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property – neither of which the hapless killer buried. His sanity threatens to unravel, snagged on the agendas of a colorful cast of characters. Weiser, represented by Dan Halsted at Manage-ment, optioned the book through Mason’s reps AMB Literary Management’s Amy Moore-Benson and Liza Wachter at RWSG.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer danced on a tightrope this morning as she tried to explain the logic behind her company’s $1.1B agreement to buy social network site Tumblr. She told analysts in a conference call that the companies will work together, but separately. They appeal to different audiences, but she says they can complement each other. And since Yahoo is “all about brands” and advertising, it can gin up sales on Tumblr even though it has a history of being ad averse — and tolerant of porn. “We need to have good tools for targeting” ad messages, Mayer says. While it’s important for Tumblr to be “true to their voice,” the companies can “monetize [it] in a way that’s tasteful” while showing advertisers “the benefits of [Tumblr's young] demographics and the huge volume of users and traffic.” Tumblr’s 26-year-old founder and CEO David Karp — who Mayer called “one of the most inspiring entrepreneurs I’ve ever met” — underscored the cultural differences in a blog post this morning. Promising that “We’re not turning purple,” he ended his brief news announcement saying “fuck yeah.” Mayer vowed to “let Tumblr be Tumblr” operating “under the Tumblr brand and David’s vision” from its base in New York. Yahoo will help with the infrastructure, but won’t put its brand on Tumblr’s site. The connection “will be largely invisible to users.” She says it shouldn’t be hard to gin up ad sales at the social network, which just began to accept them a year ago. “Of the top 10 Hollywood studios, all use Tumblr to promote movies,” she says. “Tumblr views itself as a home for brands.” For example, Yahoo could “work with [Tumblr] bloggers who want ads.” She acknowledges that the businesses have different psychographics — Yahoo audiences are older than those at Tumblr where the average user is 25. “I would expect any ad units that we create [there] would be native and follow the form and function” of the site, Mayer says. Read More »
A representative of China Film Group today called Keanu Reeves’ upcoming Man Of Tai Chi “the most important co-production” for the company this year. Reeves makes his directorial debut with the kung-fu film that is a co-production from CFG, Wanda Media, Village Roadshow Pictures Asia and Universal Pictures. At a gathering to introduce clips from the film, Reeves said he shot for more than 105 days in Beijing and Hong Kong, where the crew was at one point locked on a set because of a severe typhoon. He chose this movie to make his helming debut because it was “the story I felt I could tell and wanted to tell and didn’t want anybody else to tell.”
Man Of Tai Chi focuses on a young, innocent martial artist who struggles to maintain his values amid the pressures of contemporary society. Tiger Chen plays the man who is lured into the underground boxing world where Reeves plays the man out to manipulate him. Reeves and Chen worked together on the Matrix movies where Chen taught Reeves about “wires and kicks and punches.” The pair became friends and over five years developed the story. Reeves says it was just about “four or five years ago that I started to think about directing. But I always said I would only direct if I had a story to tell.”
Giving himself an extra challenge, the story is told in Mandarin, Cantonese and English. Reeves says, “I had to listen. The process was very collaborative. I had great support in terms of translators, casting or working on a scene… As an actor, you’re part of telling a story and as a director you’re responsible for it, but you can’t do it yourself so the collaboration was the gift.” Read More »
Los Angeles, CA, Monday May 20, 2013 – Martin Scorsese will present Mel Brooks with the American Film Institute’s 41st Life Achievement Award – America’s highest honor for a career in film. The private black tie gala will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on June 6 and will air on TNT Saturday, June 15, at 9 p.m. ET/PT and as part of an all-night tribute to Brooks on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Sunday, July 24, at 8 p.m. ET. Brooks will be recognized for his range of mastery as a director, producer, writer, actor and composer.
Related: Mel Brooks To Receive AFI Achievement